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Top 10 Great Movies With No Oscar Nominations

Written by Michael Wynands These movies are certifiable classics, but were passed over at the Oscars! WatchMojo presents the Top 10 Best Movies that Never Got Oscar Nominations! But what will take the top spot on our list? Will it be The Searchers, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, or Touch of Evil? Watch to find out! Watch on WatchMojo: Big thanks to Michael Lee for suggesting this idea, and to see how WatchMojo users voted, check out the suggest page here: https://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Great+Movies+With+No+Oscar+Nominations

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These are the greatest snubs in Academy Award history. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for Top 10 Great Movies With No Oscar Nominations.

For this list, we’re looking at movies which have gone on to be considered historic, influential examples of cinema, earning a place on many “greatest movies of all time” lists, and yet, when released received not a SINGLE nomination at the Academy Awards.

#10: “Zodiac” (2007)

With film and TV credits, David Fincher has become one of the biggest auteurs of his generation. Though “Alien 3” may have seen his career get off to a rocky start, his distinct brand of filmmaking earned him the attention of cinephiles around the globe with movies like “Seven” and “Fight Club”. In 2007, when he released the mystery-thriller “Zodiac” to overwhelming critical acclaim, it seemed that his time had finally come… but not at the Academy Awards. Instead, “Zodiac” didn’t receive so much as nod. Some have blamed the film's March release date for its Oscar absence, but regardless, that’s one serious oversight.

#9: “Heat” (1995)

This is a film that had lots going for it. For starters, it was directed by Michael Mann, who also gave us such films as “The Last of the Mohicans” and “Collateral”. It also featured a then very marketable Val Kilmer, and starred both Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro in what would be their very first onscreen scene together. With its gripping narrative and edge-of-your-seat cinematography, “Heat” served as living proof that Michael Mann understood the genre like no other, and has become mandatory viewing for any crime film enthusiast. But despite this, apparently, no one at the Academy got that memo.

#8: “King Kong” (1933)

When dealing with old classics, it’s easy to just assume that they all took home an Academy Award. How many movies were there to even choose from in the 1930s? Though it may be even more shocking than seeing an oversized ape swatting at passing planes, “King Kong” not only failed to win an Oscar… it didn’t get a single nomination. Not even for visual effects? Nope, because that category didn’t exist yet – though some did make argument for a special award for that very reason. Thankfully, it has since been awarded various honors, even though it netted nada at the time of its release.

#7: “Scarface” (1983)

There are many ways by which you can judge the success of a film - critics, awards, box office numbers or cultural impact, among others. But when your remake far and away eclipses the original film in the public consciousness… you’ve clearly made an impact. Released in 1983, directed by Brian De Palma and written by Oliver Stone, Scarface has become one of the most iconic films in history, but at the time of its release… it was met with negative reviews. Though the film has an enduring legacy, apparently… “say hello to my little friend” wasn’t in reference to a small gold statue.

#6: “Mean Streets” (1973)

When you hear the name Martin Scorsese, doesn’t the word “Oscars” come to mind automatically? Given that his films have accumulated over 80 nominations and 20 wins at the Academy Awards… the association is pretty strong. However, in 1973, this was just Scorsese’s third feature film, and his first to garner any significant attention outside of film festivals. Though it earned critical praise and did reasonably well at the box office, making $3 million against a budget of $500,000, it went ignored by the Academy. “Mean Streets” signaled the arrival of a powerful artistic force in the industry… the Academy Awards just didn’t know it yet.

#5: “Paths of Glory” (1957)

The name Kubrick carries a lot of weight in film history. Though nominated for a BAFTA and Writers' Guild of America Award, this controversial anti-war film failed to make an impression with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, despite critical acclaim and the fact that it featured a marketable star in the form of actor Kirk Douglas. However, this is another case of a rising star going unrecognized until a later time. Despite being one of Kubrick’s very first feature length films, “Paths of Glory” had all the marks of genius… but likely scared off the Academy with its message in the process.

#4: “The Shining” (1980)

A full 23 years after “Paths of Glory”, and many award nominations later, it’s harder to find easy logical excuses as to why this Kubrick film was ignored by the Academy. Except… it wasn’t just the Academy that turned their noses up at it. So too did the Golden Globes ... and most critics at the time. It was, however, nominated at the inaugural edition of the Golden Raspberry Awards. Hard though it may be to believe, “The Shining”, which is now considered to be one of the greatest and most influential horror films of all time, was a critical flop upon release.

#3: “Touch of Evil” (1958)

Few people left a bigger mark on film than Orson Welles. Few experienced greater resistance or conflict within the film industry either. The struggles Welles faced with the release of “Citizen Kane” were just the start of what would prove to be a frustrating career. “Touch of Evil”, his 1958 film noir was significantly altered by the studio and then marketed and released as a B-movie. Maybe that’s why it was overlooked by the Academy. However, in retrospect, particularly with the discovery of Welles’ earlier footage, “Touch of Evil” has gone on to be considered among the most important films of its time.

#2: “The Searchers” (1956)

Traditionally, the Academy just doesn't get genre cinema… not even an American classic like the western. But still, how do you deny the quality of John Ford’s masterpiece, “The Searchers”? In years since, the film has gone on to widely be considered one of the greatest pieces of narrative cinema ever to hit theaters. So… was it just a year of particularly bad taste on the part of the Academy? Unlike other movies on our list, this isn’t a film that critics took years to retroactively warm to, it was both a critical and commercial success from day one - just not an Oscar-winner.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions

“Blue Is The Warmest Color” (2013)

“The Big Lebowski” (1998)

“Fruitvale Station” (2013)

#1: “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (1966)

It bears repeating… with a few notable exceptions, the Academy seemingly has no interest in genre cinema. With “The Searchers”, they snubbed westerns. With Sergio Leone’s Italian twist on the genre, they were no less disinterested. In fact, critics were generally harsh in their reviews of Leone’s Clint Eastwood led classic. In the 1960s “Spaghetti western” was a dirty phrase - a label that was incompatible with quality cinema. But, associations change over time, and this particularly spaghetti western is now considered a crucial part of cinematic history. In 1966 however, the Academy wouldn’t touch it. Their loss!

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